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1 - 10 of 13 results for: PHIL

PHIL 27S: Human Nature

In this course we'll investigate what makes us human. We'll ask ourselves such questions as: "What is rationality, and to what extent are we distinctively rational?"; "What is happiness, and is it attainable for us, given our nature?"; "What is the relation between human nature and our other identities, for instance gender?"; and "Can human nature change?" We'll pause to consider whether and how the facts we unearth in our investigation matter for ethical theory: How might our duties change in light of what we find out about human nature through descriptive metaphysics and the natural sciences? Might there instead be moral pressure to adopt a particular conception of our humanity? Readings will be culled primarily from the philosophical canon, though will also incorporate work in evolutionary biology and the cognitive and social sciences. No prior study in philosophy is presupposed.
Terms: Sum | Units: 3 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 28S: Introduction to Modern Philosophy

This course is an introduction to modern philosophy which focuses on foundational texts from the early modern period by Descartes, Leibniz and Hume. These thinkers strive to answer questions about the nature of the material world and our knowledge of it which are at the center of the development of modern science as we know it. At the same time, they struggle with a broader set of questions concerning the nature and existence of the soul, freedom of the will, and God. Texts include: Rene Descartes, Mediations on First Philosophy, G.W. Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics, New System of Nature, and assorted short essays and letters, David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.
Terms: Sum | Units: 3 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Ettel, J. (PI)

PHIL 31S: The Highest Good in Human Life

One of the first questions people ask, often jokingly, when you tell them that you are studying philosophy is: What is the meaning of life? In Ancient Greece, this question was asked in earnest under a different label: What is the highest good in human life? As we will see in this course, ancient Greek philosophers, in particular Aristotle, Epicurus, and the Stoics disagreed vehemently about the correct answer. Readings will include some of the following figures: Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, the Stoics, Lucretius, Cicero, and Seneca.
Terms: Sum | Units: 3 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Yang, K. (PI)

PHIL 38S: Introduction to the Philosophy of the Mind

Could people in the future upload their conscious minds to a computer and, so to speak, live forever? Do we have an obligation not to delete a conscious computer's software? How we answer these questions would seem to depend on how we answer more basic questions. Can a machine have thoughts? Can a rock have thoughts? Would a machine with thoughts have consciousness? Even these simpler questions are difficult and controversial. In this course, we will each examine our own ideas about the mind and consciousness, and compare our ideas with those of other philosophers. We will consider different ways in which minds, consciousness, and the physical world might be related to each other. We will do this by thinking both about our own minds and experiences, and about how representations of the world might (or might not) exist within brains or computers.
Terms: Sum | Units: 3 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Turman, J. (PI)

PHIL 39S: Introduction to Ethics

Construed broadly, ethics encompasses questions about moral truth, objectivity, and relativity; questions about what reasons we have to persist in acting morally; and questions about morality's substance or content. Some examples: Are moral claims mere matters of opinion? Is morality relative? If there are objective moral facts, what are they like, and how can we know them? Can we argue an avowed amoralist into caring about morality? If so, on what basis? What is morality telling us to do, anyway? In this course, we will make a preliminary investigation of these questions and of some important historical and contemporary attempts to answer them. We will also look at some possible sources for skepticism about morality: What if we are, in the end, wholly selfish animals? What if the correct account of the origins of our moral beliefs ends up undermining them? Does the role of luck in our lives undercut our basic notion of ourselves as responsible for our actions? More generally, is moral enterprise hopeless if nature's course is settled in advance?
Terms: Sum | Units: 3 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Tulipana, P. (PI)

PHIL 40S: Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

This course provides an introduction to some of the major philosophical questions about science. The first part of the course focuses on the role of values in a variety of sciences, especially in the environmental, biomedical and social sciences that have close connections with public policy. Question examined will include: Should values be involved in accepting or rejecting scientific hypotheses? Are certain scientific categories value laden? Are there scientific topics that should be deprioritized or not pursued at all in a society? How should scientists communicate socially important but uncertain information to the policy makers and the public? The second part of the course focuses on the scientific method and how it contributes to the success and progress of science. We will examine three different accounts of the scientific method, accounts that lead to different conceptions of the nature and growth of scientific knowledge: The hypothetical-deductive view; Thomas Kuhn's account o more »
This course provides an introduction to some of the major philosophical questions about science. The first part of the course focuses on the role of values in a variety of sciences, especially in the environmental, biomedical and social sciences that have close connections with public policy. Question examined will include: Should values be involved in accepting or rejecting scientific hypotheses? Are certain scientific categories value laden? Are there scientific topics that should be deprioritized or not pursued at all in a society? How should scientists communicate socially important but uncertain information to the policy makers and the public? The second part of the course focuses on the scientific method and how it contributes to the success and progress of science. We will examine three different accounts of the scientific method, accounts that lead to different conceptions of the nature and growth of scientific knowledge: The hypothetical-deductive view; Thomas Kuhn's account of normal science and scientific revolutions; and finally, an account of theory testing by George Smith, a leading scholar on Isaac Newton. Throughout the course, we will examine the philosophical ideas in the light of concrete cases in the history and practice of science. This course is designed to help students develop critical thinking skills, to communicate effectively through speaking and writing, and to construct well-reasoned arguments. Students of any discipline are welcome to attend, and no particular background is presupposed.
Terms: Sum | Units: 3 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Wang, Y. (PI)

PHIL 196: Tutorial, Senior Year

(Staff)
Terms: Aut, Win, Spr, Sum | Units: 5 | Repeatable for credit | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 197: Individual Work, Undergraduate

May be repeated for credit.
Terms: Aut, Win, Spr, Sum | Units: 1-15 | Repeatable for credit | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 240: Individual Work for Graduate Students

May be repeated for credit.
Terms: Aut, Win, Spr, Sum | Units: 1-15 | Repeatable for credit | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit

PHIL 241: Dissertation Development Seminar

Required of second-year Philosophy Ph.D. students; restricted to Stanford Philosophy Ph.D. students. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
Terms: Sum | Units: 1-4 | Grading: Satisfactory/No Credit
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